31 May 2007

If pictures could talk, what would this one say?

I've spent the last 2 hours watering my garden. It has to be thoroughly wet to apply the mole repellent I'll be putting down. Don't like moles, hate groundhogs. The fight is on!

I'm off to the folk's house for a few hours, then to the orthodontist and last softball game. I'll spend some time writing a 'real' post soon.

29 May 2007

I set aside an hour on this picture-perfect morning to set on my porch. I don't think we have too many days left like this before the heat and humidity of summer are in full swing. It's actually cool and breezy with no humidity and brilliant sunshine. Oh, but another day off would be so wonderful...

Here's Emily and I before the wedding. I did get my new glasses in time!

With my sister Ilene.

The bride and groom with all the grandparents.

The bride and groom posed the same way my parents and my sister were for their wedding portraits.

My time is up. Have a great day!

28 May 2007

Back. Exhausted. A great time was had by all. Much too tired to write now. Flying really takes it's toll. Thanks so much for all the comments--it was so nice to come home to.

25 May 2007

Here's a picture of my nephew Aaron and his bride-to-be, Rachel. Don't they make a great looking couple? My parents, Emily and I will get to Chicago at around 11:00 tomorrow morning. The rehearsal dinner is at 3:00 and the wedding will be on Sunday afternoon. We'll be flying home on Monday. I so wish there were time to explore the city. Everyone I've talked to says it's a fantastic place. I'll just have to go back.

Well, I have to get my beauty rest. Tomorrow's a big day. I'll be taking lots of pictures that I'll post when I get back. See you in a few days!

24 May 2007

I've been too busy to write these last few days. Emily's team has had a game on Tuesday and Wednesday night, and has a game tonight. I'm happy (very) to say that her team finally won their very first game last night. The girls were ecstatic; so were the parents. Emily's doing so well. She played 3rd base and shortstop last night. Not bad for a beginner.

I'll try to write a full post before I leave for Chicago on Saturday. La de da.

21 May 2007

So I have a thing for garden statuary. There's a set number of garden ornaments and birdhouses we're allowed to display, and I've gone way over the quota. I guess no one from the landscape committee of our homeowner's association has strolled by my house. Yet. I've tried to tuck the critters here and there. I've gotten most of them from DeWaynes, a fabulous garden and gift center off of I-95 in Smithfield, NC. I usually treat myself to something every summer when I travel south to visit my GA sister. I'd love one of their concrete birdbaths, but fortunately, maybe, there's never enough room in the car.

My day was great. How was yours?

20 May 2007

Need I say more?

"Cheryl, up to age 18"

Kit wrote these memories of me and I thought I'd share them:

We probably met at the pool as we went to different schools. I remember Cheryl's great tan and her happy smile.

Cheryl's mother was beautiful. Many heads turned when she went into the pool or if she just walked by. Her mother smiled as much as Cheryl.

Cheryl's family lived in the cleanest house I had ever seen. Six people lived in it, but it appeared to be a model home. Everything was in its place. Cabinets and chairs were wiped down constantly. As Cheryl's mother cleaned, I would ask her how often she cleaned things. I found out just about every surface was touched daily.

Cheryl and I tried out for the Bowie Boys Club Cheerleading team. The cheerleading coach made a big deal of pointing out Cheryl's smile - and told us that NONE of us were smiling - that we should remember to smile - and if we couldn't - to just look at Cheryl as a reminder.

Because Cheryl had uncles who owned a GAP-like store, she was able to buy corduroy pants in every color. You couldn't be more stylish than that. I am pretty sure Cheryl also owned Fry boots. If she didn't own the boots, she should have as all her outfits were hip.

Cheryl loved folk music, bicycling, homemade bread, pottery.... anything natural.

I remember she made Challah bread which required the expensive spice Saffron. It came in a tiny white envelope in a McCormick's spice jar for $7. It was so expensive, it could have been cocaine.

Right after high school graduation, Cheryl had the great nerve to drive cross-country with 3 girlfriends in a very tiny car, on a very tiny budget of maybe $4 a day . Fortunately, all of them were slim, so they fit in the car and managed to live on their food budget. They also camped at campgrounds where they had no protection from predators. I thought she was nuts and said so many times.

At the end of the summer, Cheryl made it back alive and entered Towson University for her freshmen year.

What struck me after reading this was that I never knew I was known for my smile. When I said this to Kit, she said, 'look, you're smiling now'.

19 May 2007

Glad to say I can get Internet access from any room in the house. Woohoo!, as Abbagirl would say. I never did get to see the return of Cableboy. I wonder if he saw me as the mother-type, or as Mrs. Robinson. I'll never know.

I didn't make it to Border's today. Emily was dropped off at my salon so we could go shoe shopping for my nephew's wedding next weekend. From there we rushed to my eye doctor appointment. I picked out a sort of edgy/modern pair of glasses that I hope I love. I also ordered prescription sunglasses. I wanted to use the money that I got for my 20th anniversary at work for something special, and this was perfect. Thanks Pam and Mason! Emily and I went to Kohl's next. I had a good coupon, and wanted to see if we could find shoes for Emily that were less expensive than the ones we found earlier. A few hours and many dollars later, Emily had her shoes and a whole bunch of other stuff. I got one pair of knee-highs for my Mom. We did have a good time.

Tomorrow morning will find me at Panera's with Kit again. A few people have asked me who she is. She's one of my oldest friends, and I hope she'll do a guest post one of these days. We grew up together in Bowie, and have been friends since we were in Junior High, I think. We sort of stayed in touch after high school, but it's been in the last few years that we've been hanging out regularly. She has a blog that archives her family history, and narrates it in the voice of her 89 year old father.

Well, I'm going to sign off now and spend time reading my favorite blogs. Till I write again, ado...

17 May 2007

Tonight's 'before and after.' I tried to get a good picture of this part of the garden, but you can hardly see any of the plants from this angle. Still, it's looking much lusher now. The big plants are perennials that were dormant in the 'before' picture.

It was a great day off. I was surprised that the weather turned out so nice. Tomorrow's only supposed to get up to 60, but there's nothing wrong with that. Before you know it we'll be in the hot and sticky days of summer. I was up early this morning and decided to leave the house at 7:30. I went to the grocery store for Starbucks and groceries, then to The Home Depot to buy plants for my mother. It was the first time I've been there that I resisted the urge to buy something for myself. It wasn't easy. I planted tomatoes in big pots for my mom, which made her enormously happy. My sister Lisa planted a great vegetable garden in their yard, but my mom can't walk over to it easily, nor bend down to pick anything. With the pots, she can watch the plants grow, and pick the tomatoes when they're ripe. I planted flowers by the patio, and moved some other plants around. My brother and his family planted the window boxes in the front of the house, so my mom is set. My mother was quite the gardener in her day, and we've all helped her do what she wishes she could do herself. I cut and colored my mom's hair and went to Men's Warehouse with both parents to pick up my dad's suit. Mom and I finished our time together with lunch at Panera's. I had the salmon salad and a tart cherry scone for dessert. Yum.

I came home to find a very cute and young cable guy digging all over my cul-de-sac. The cable box is across the street from my house and he had to use some kind of tool to dig under 5 driveways to get to my house. I'm ashamed (not) to say that I watched him on and off for hours. Yes, I took a few pictures but only got his back (side. He'll be back in the morning to finish. I'll be watching out for him.

16 May 2007

I'm sitting outside, borrowing the nice neighbor's Internet signal, and enjoying the balmy weather after the big storm we had. I thought I'd post some before and after pictures.

This set shows how I've taken back Mr. Groundhog's stolen diggs. I put down some Repel, which is supposed to keep groundhogs and other rodents away. We'll see.

This is the right side of my house. Doesn't it look better? The main problems here are ants and weeds.

This is the last picture of the night. I've lost my connection a few times and want to quit while I'm ahead. This side of my house was barren dirt for a year. The first picture shows it after all the topsoil and part of the Patch Master was put down. The second shows...grass! It's the first time I ever tried to grow grass from seed. It seems like all you have to do is add dirt and water.

I'll add more pictures another time. It takes me a long time to upload them to Blogger. That might have something to do with the connection speed I have now, 11.0 Mbps vs. the usual 54.0 Mbps. I don't know what that stands for, but I sound pretty knowledgeable, huh? I called my cable company this morning and complained about the pitiful service I've been getting. I was told I need to speak to a supervisor and they took my phone number so she could call me when she got in. No, she didn't call. The markings that were done on my and my neighbor's lawns on Friday have almost faded away. Can I say WAAAH :((?
My time on the computer has been limited due to the continued problems with the cable company. I did get the new Newsweek magazine read last night! The only time I get a connection is when I can 'borrow' my neighbor's wireless signal. Sometimes it works... When it does, I have to share my laptop with Emily because she can't connect on her desktop. Yesterday at 5:00 was the deadline they gave me for someone to come out and, I think, dig and repair the cable. They didn't come. I'll be on the phone with them this morning.

Yesterday was a crazy busy day at work and today will be the same. I stepped outside a few times to feel the hot summer-y day and wished I was at home, or the beach. We've had some great days here, and this is one of my favorite times of year.

Tonight after work Emily and I will start shopping for the shoes and other things we still need for my nephew's wedding in two weeks. Tomorrow I'll be with my parents doing my mom's hair and getting my dad's suit. When Emily comes home from school, we'll go out shopping again. I need to have everything ready for our trip so I can relax, you know?

Well, I'm going to take a look outside at the garden then start getting ready for work. Have a great day!

14 May 2007

Do you think I sound like a broken record sometimes? I worry about that. During the holidays, I went on and on (and on) about decorating the house. Then there was the basement project. Lately, it's been the garden. That I'm done with. I'll post pictures soon 'cause you know I took a million of them. I don't have my next project planned, but something will come up. I don't know how to relax, can you tell? I get that, and my energy, from my mother.

A Mother's Day Trio

13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

12 May 2007

Ode to Kelly
I told my neighbor that I'd be blogging about her tonight, 'cause she's my hero. I even sang her a bit of the Bette Midler song, 'Wind Beneath My Wings'. (She promised not to tell anyone how awful I sounded.) She is my handywoman. And my friend. She's fixed everything from my toilets to my dishwasher and I don't know what I would have done all these years without her. She's got a very impressive array of tools, and knows how to use them. She's out of town a lot, but set aside today to work on my air conditioner unit. It rests on a concrete slab next to my house and over the years the soil around it has badly eroded. The AC unit was very close to falling over.

Today was the day to fix it. We dug a trench on all four sides of the concrete slab. She cut lengths of 6X6 lumber that we put under the slab. She even came up with the idea of using the jacks from our cars to hike up the back end of the slab so we could fit the lumber in. We got it level on all sides and dug trenches around them that we lined with landscape plastic and filled with gravel. We put more landscape plastic on top, then back filled it with dirt, and mulched the whole area. Am I lucky to have a friend and neighbor like that? And to top it off, she's even providing refuge to a certain groundhog, who is now burrowed under her porch, and not mine. What a nice neighbor.

On a totally different note, it hasn't been too bad cutting hair with my injury. I've been wearing latex gloves with the last 3 fingers cut off, so only my index finger and thumb are covered. It keeps my band aid in place and there's no possibility of hair getting into it. Did I say my gloves are blue? It's an interesting look. But it works.

I got a very nice flower arrangement from Emily, delivered to work, for Mother's Day. I love getting flowers. Tomorrow we'll meet my parents, sister, and nephew at Bob Evans for breakfast to celebrate the day. We did that last year, and everyone had a good time. I'll spend the rest of the day completely finishing my yard work. Yeah! Then what? I always need a project, you know?

11 May 2007

Just a quick post before work. I'm a little nervous about that with 'the finger.' Actually, there are things I specifically stay away from because my hands are so valuable to my livelihood. Bowling, volleyball, etc.. I didn't think peeling a fruit would fit in that category.

The softball game was great last night. I'm just amazed by how much the girls have improved. If you saw Emily you'd never think this was her first year playing. She consistently hits the ball, and is a good infield and outfield player. Plus a good runner. One of the parents came up to me and commented on how well Emily's doing. She was one of the ones talking about her performance a few games ago. The girls still lost, but only by a point.

10 May 2007

You know that old saying, if it's not one thing, it's another? I'm not sure that's appropriate here--it's usually said by someone who's pessimistic. It's just that I got good news yesterday, and injured myself this morning as I was using a vegetable peeler on a mango. It's amazing the harm that can be done in a split second; I can hardly look at it. It's not the first time I've cut myself with a vegetable peeler and I'm not sure I ever want to use one again. The bleeding took about 3 hours to stop. Emily had to put the original band-aid on before she left for school. My neighbor came over twice to bandage it before she left for work, a friend came over and thought I might need stitches, and finally I went to the doctor's office where my sister works and had a doctor look at it. It's not stitchable, which was actually a relief. Who wants stitches? Cutting hair tomorrow should be interesting. I have something called a finger cot that I'll put over my band-aids, but cutting with a band-aid on usually doesn't work. They get 'cut' off. It won't be easy, but I need to cut hair. I'm thankful this happened on a day off.

I was going to start a post this morning with an ode to a remarkable candy. I'd read about it, and wanted it, but it's imported from Italy and very hard to come by. Pocket Coffee, anyone?

I was at my friend Sarah's this week, and she told me she had Pocket Coffee. I was amazed, cause I knew just what it was. She used to live in Italy, where it was readily available. Since coming to the states, she and her husband look for it wherever they go. They found it in NC, of all places. She gave one to me and one to Emily, along with a box of Trader Joe's Espresso Chocolates that her husband picked up in San Diego. I saved the candy till this morning, since I only do caffeine on days off and I savored every bit of it. If you love coffee or espresso, try your best to find this treat. The Trader Joe's version was very good, but not as good as Pocket Coffee. Sarah looked for it at our local Trader Joe's, but it seems it's a West Coast treat. For now.

Well, it's off to Em's softball game. I hope they win this one. It's been 3 losses in a row, so far. They're a little tired of losing.

09 May 2007

News from the doctor: everything looked good. I wish I knew what was causing my pain, but every test has come back negative. So, I'm just going to be positive. I think I'll call my primary care doctor next week to discuss all the tests and see what she has to say.

Big TV night again. I'll try to post later

PS. Mr. Groundhog is staying out of jail. He's no dummy. I'm resisting the urge to put my flowers in his part of my garden.

08 May 2007

My neighbor took this shot of the outlaw groundhog, making himself at home outside the burrow he dug under her deck. She said he looks like a bear, especially when standing up. Huge, huh? She's set a live trap baited with cucumbers; they supposedly like them. She's tried the trap many times before--the neighbors have borrowed it too. It's never worked in the past, but we could be lucky this time, especially with a reward out. If that doesn't work, she's putting chili peppers and ex-lax down the hole. She heard that's a sure way to get them to move out. I'm praying he doesn't move to my house.

07 May 2007

If I ever start a post with the statement, "It was my day off and I stayed in and watched TV," you'll know something's really wrong. Today was an on-the-go kind of day.

I called the doctor's office first thing this morning and found out they open at 9:00. I called at 9:00 and the voice mail commands led me to my doctor's assistant's voice mail. I left a message, along with my cell phone number. I kept my phone in my pocket all day as I went from store to store, and must have looked at it a hundred times. I called back at 1:30 and left another message. I looked at my phone at 4:25 while I was waiting outside Emily's school and saw that I had a voice mail. My phone never rung. It was from the doctor's assistant, who had left the message 2 minutes earlier. Emily's school is on a military base, and I guess there's no reception. As soon as I got off base, at 4:30, I called the office. They were closed for the day. How frustrating. I hope that no news is good news. I'll call again tomorrow. I was really looking forward to having this part of it done. Thanks for all the well-wishes. Let's hope it's good news tomorrow. I think it will be.

It was a very full Sunday. That's the way I do them. I started off at Panera's. I'm always impressed with that place, never disappointed. I had a tart cherry scone and a bottomless cup of coffee. I met Kit there with the breakfast crowd and left well into the lunch hour. We went to Macy's afterwards and did a little shopping. I'm not really a shopper, and I found it depressing. At work I wear black slacks or capri's, and plain t-shirts and I wear an apron or a smock. I've really been in need of new 'non-work' clothes but have been waiting for about 5 lbs to magically disappear. Instead of looking at clothes and being excited, I just got bummed out. Plus I'm nervous about my medical test results, and have been living with a sort of dread (I'm calling tomorrow), and that's depressing. The longer I was there, the more depressed I got. I bought some MAC eyeliner crayons instead of clothes. I went to my parent's house and hung outside with my Mom. She had me pulling weeds and other garden stuff. I told her I'd come back on Thursday and plant her baskets. I went to Marshall's afterwards and found some good stuff and my mood perked up. I think I just do better in a store without as many choices. I had about 6 things to try on when my neighbor called. She and her girlfriend's car broke down and they were on the side of the road with their dog, waiting for a cab that might take on a dog. I was kind of glad for the distraction, and for the opportunity to help them. I bought my clothes without trying them on, and went to the rescue. I spent the rest of the day working outside. I listened to music on my mp3 player. I finally got the pleasure of seeing a hummingbird at my feeder. The day started well and ended well.

05 May 2007

I decided to buy my own mulch and bypass the weird neighbor. The new mulch is a perfect match with what I already put down. The main garden is finished, and it looks great. I started planting when I got home from work today. I have a small bedding area beside my garage leading up to my porch that I'm hesitant to plant.

It's because of the demon groundhog that terrorized my cul-de-sac last year. It burrowed under the concrete slabs of our porches. The dirt that animal displaced completely obliterated all the plants and left this mess. It was war. I put all the dirt back, put big rocks and a cinder block down, a big board, etc... I came home one day and he had done it again.

I was so mad. This time I went all out. I sunk metal stakes between the dirt and the concrete. I stacked up as many rocks as I could. I heard they don't like Epsom salt, so I kept the area covered in salt. The groundhog didn't come back, but I made what looked like a voodoo temple. It was quite the conversation piece. I guess you could say the groundhog won. Well, I have plants ready for that area. I hoped the groundhog was gone for good. Last week, it dug under my neighbor's porch and another one across the street. I have big rocks stacked against my porch, and the stakes are in the ground but sunk, like an underground fence. Still, I think my days are numbered.
I'm getting ready for work. Saturday is my only early day and my first client is always at 8:00. My first two clients are sisters, and I consider them both to be friends. They've never had back to back appointments, they're both getting color and haircuts, so I'll be spending two hours with them. They're best friends, and live across the street from each other. I'm looking forward to that being the start of my day. The rest of the day should fly by, then I'm off for the next two. The forecast changed from a brilliant weekend, to a cloudy one with a chance of some rain. That's OK. I'll still be able to get my outside work done. In fact, it's better to plant on cloudy days.. Monday will be gorgeous. Hope everyone has a great start to their weekend.

03 May 2007

It's Grey's Anatomy night, but I'm not going to watch it. It's on till 11:00, which is an hour later than my bedtime. I have my routines and don't like to mess with them. It's been a long time since I've programed my VCR, but I'm going to give it a go. That way I can leisurely watch the show on Saturday. Of course, there's always the full episodes on the Internet. We'll see. I'll just have to make sure I stay out of earshot of the spoilers. Last night's shows were very exciting. I kind of feel like I should be embarrassed to show such enthusiasm for TV, but, there it is. You have to get your kicks where you can.

I've been having problems with my Internet connection. Fortunately I can tap into my neighbor's wireless connection, as long as I sit in a particular place on my couch. Today was the second time I had to have a serviceman out here, and he told me there's a problem with the line going from the box to my house, and it will be two weeks till they come out. He said I'd know they'd been here because they mark the ground. If I didn't know I could still get a connection, I'd be pissed. Then I thought about them 'marking the ground.' They do that sometimes when they're working on the gas, electric or cable lines. They literally spray orange or red lines on the grass and mulch. I will be so mad if they mark up my new beautiful mulch.

I went with my parents to Men's Warehouse today to get a suit for my father to wear to my nephew's wedding this month. It will be the suit he'll wear to weddings and funerals. He made the comment that he could wear it to his own, and it's true. I'd rate the shopping experience a 10 on a scale of 1-10. My father will pick up the suit on Wednesday after the alterations are finished, and if that goes well, I will find out how to contact the district manager and write a glowing letter about the store and the salesman, Eric. I don't think he could have done anything to impress us more, and it takes a lot to impress me. My father wears a size 50-52, and that's not an easy fit. We heard that Men's Warehouse was the place to go to find his size, and it was. We didn't have to look through a single rack. Eric knew his stock, made the selections, and my father tried them on. We were in agreement on everything. I know Eric enjoyed the shopping experience as much as we did. My mom was along, and the salesman was very sensitive to her disabilities and made sure she had a chair to sit in and was comfortable as we moved around the store from the suits to the shirts to the ties. It was all good. The bill came to almost $600 when all was said and done (suit, extra pants, shirt, belt, tie, alterations), but my father won more than that last week at Atlantic City. I'd say it was a good way to spend a windfall.

It's funny how you can go from a day or two of not having anything to say, then start writing and have to rein yourself in. Posts that are too long are hard to read. So, I'll write about Emily's 3rd softball game another time. Goodnight!

02 May 2007

There hasn't been much to talk about in my neck of the woods. This is just one of those 'I'm still here' posts. I'm settling in to watch two of my favorite shows, Jericho and Lost. I'll write more soon.